Rideau Canal in Gatineau

Sailing Through History: Enjoy a Free Journey Along the Rideau Canal

1 min read

Exploring the Rideau Canal between Ottawa and Kingston offers a unique opportunity to dive into a piece of living history, all without spending a dime. This free activity invites visitors to experience the beauty and engineering marvel of North America’s best-preserved 19th-century “slackwater” canal, still operational in its original glory.


The Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is celebrated for being the most intact canal from the 19th century in North America, maintaining its course and structures as they were originally built. Managed by Parks Canada, it serves as a historical waterway where pleasure boaters and paddlers navigate through its locks. Land visitors are equally drawn to its scenic and historic locks, making it a versatile attraction for all types of explorers.

Fun Facts

  • The Rideau Canal holds the title as the only 19th-century canal in North America that operates on its original route with most of its structures still intact.
  • It enjoys the prestigious status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, emphasizing its global importance and exceptional preservation.
  • The canal is a hub for various activities, catering to both water enthusiasts and those preferring to stay on land, thus offering a rich and diverse experience to its visitors.

The Rideau Canal stands as a testament to historical ingenuity and natural beauty, offering a free activity that is both enriching and entertaining. Whether by water (locks fees) or land, visitors are guaranteed an unforgettable journey through time, all at no cost. This destination proves that some of the best experiences in life, indeed, come free.

Please note there is a charge to pass by boat through each lock in the system, even with a kayak or canoe. Thanks to one of our reader for this important details.

For more information: Rideau Canal National Historic Site (canada.ca)

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